Matt Berman at The National Journal asked, “Will Ted Cruz Be Able to Convince Anyone to Take His Campaign Seriously?“, and the answer, apparently, is a resounding “yes.” According to Public Policy Polling (PPP),
Ted Cruz has the big momentum following the official announcement of his candidacy last week. His support has increased from 5% to 16% in just over a month, enough to make him one of three candidates in the top tier of GOP contenders, along with Scott Walker and Jeb Bush.
PPP goes on to observe that “Cruz has really caught fire with voters identifying themselves as ‘very conservative’ since his announcement. After polling at only 11% with them a month ago, he now leads the GOP field with 33% to 25% for Walker and 12% for Carson with no one else in double digits.”
It seems that despite early predictions, Ted Cruz as presidential candidate is, as Jazz Shaw at Hot Air notes, “stubbornly refus[ing] to implode”:
Even after he won his seat, the media was keeping up the drumbeat, frequently abetted by senior members of his own party. (Wacko Birds, anyone?) But long before it was certain that Cruz might run for the White House, he began defying the narrative media formula. Those of us who didn’t know him were expecting the avalanche of stories which would erode his status as a serious politician. The problem is, they didn’t happen. Where were the “gaffes” we were all promised? He was supposed to come out and immediately begin screaming about the President being from Kenya, saying that women should enjoy being raped and calling for the South to secede again.
Unfortunately for the cable news talking heads, it never happened. Cruz staked out a number of domestic and foreign policy issues and began beating the drum with his own proposals for how to meet those challenges. The media seemed to shoot themselves in the foot by tripping over each other to give the Senator air time, waiting for the expected crazy to emerge. There were times when his tactics were fairly brought under scrutiny, such as his approach to the budget battles / government shutdown situation, but that was a difference in opinion on legislative strategy, not the hoped for wild man moments. In the end, all they came up with was a recitation of a Dr. Seuss book during a filibuster, but anyone who looked briefly beyond the dishonestly edited clips on TV saw that it was actually a short message to beloved children. Not exactly the stuff of which career crashes are made.
Cruz’s presidential campaign is off to a good start, and as he told Matt Lauer, his goal is to put together a “broad coalition” of voters for 2016:
It remains to be seen whether or not Cruz can broaden his appeal among Republican voters–beyond those who identify as “very conservative”–and also gain ground among Reagan democrats and Nixon’s “silent majority.”
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